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Editor: Dianne Bradford, 5384 Tansas Ln., Hilliard, OH 43026

Vol. 1, No. 1

      Page 1

      This newsletter is dedicated to all seekers after the Eternal Truth. It is intended and designed to provide some guidance to and along the straight Path to God Himself and His Purpose for us. It will do this through an introduction to the Bahá'í Faith, the newest world religion, which was established by God's latest Prophet and Messenger, Bahá'u'lláh.

      This newsletter will be dealing with various issues and subjects from a Bahá'í perspective. Therefore, the Bahá'í writings will be extensively quoted. Since the following authors will be those primarily quoted, a brief explanation follows.

      Bahá'u'lláh: A Prophet and the most recent Messenger from God Whose coming was prophesied and anticipated by all of the past Prophets and Founders of the major Religions of the world. He was the Founder and Author of the Bahá'í Religion and Dispensation (the span of time during which a Messenger's Revelation is current--which lasts until the next Messenger appears). His primary Mission was to bring about the unity and brotherhood of all mankind, the Most Great Peace, the promised Kingdom of God on earth.
The Báb: The Herald of the Bahá'í Dispensation. In addition, He was a Prophet and Manifestation of God in His own right, the Founder and Author of the Bábí Religion and Dispensation. His primary Mission was to prepare the way for and to announce the imminent coming of Bahá'u'lláh.

      'Abdu'l-Bahá: Son of Bahá'u'lláh and appointed by Him in His Will and Testament as His successor, the Center of His Covenant and the official and authoritative Interpreter of His Writings. He was the one to whom the Bahá'ís turned after the passing of Bahá'u'lláh.
Shoghi Effendi: Grandson of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, appointed by Him as His successor, the Guardian of the Faith, and the one to whom the Bahá'ís turned after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

      The Universal House of Justice: The highest administrative institution of the Bahá'í Faith . It provides unerring guidance and is the only body empowered to legislate on all matters of Bahá'í law not specifically laid down by Bahá'u'lláh in His Book of laws. Its existence was conceived and instituted, and its authority and infallability was vouchsafed by Bahá'u'lláh in His Writings. Its reality came about primarily due to the tireless efforts of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. The first Universal House of Justice was elected in April of 1963.

      As this newsletter's existence is primarily for those dedicated seekers of Truth, I think it would be appropriate to begin this first issue with some quotations from the Bahá'í writings on this search, the state of seeking, and the qualities that the seeker must necessarily possess for this search to be fruitful.

      To begin , a mention follows of the rewards and the fruits of the search itself . It provides a reassurance that the search, though it may be long and hard and even painful at times, is definitely worth the effort involved--so stick with it, you'll be glad you did. After all, it is God Whom you are seeking, the one Object truly worthy of the effort involved in any search, and for Whom every effort is worthwhile.

      . . .and draw thee to a station wherein thou shalt see nothing in creation save the Face of thy Beloved One, the Honored, and behold all created things only as in the day wherein none hath a
mention. . .
. . .and the bird of thy soul shall recall the holy sanctuaries of preexistence and soar on the wings of longing in the heaven of 'walk the beaten paths of thy Lord' [Qur'án 16:7]. . ..
By My life, O friend, wert thou to taste of these fruits, from the green garden of these blossoms which grow in the lands of knowledge, beside the orient lights of the Essence in the mirrors of names and attributes--yearning would seize the reins of patience and reserve from out thy hand, and make thy soul to shake with the flashing light, and draw thee from the earthly homeland to the first, heavenly abode in the Center of Realities, and lift thee to a plane wherein thou wouldst soar in the air even as thou walkest upon the earth, and move over the water as thou runnest on the land. Wherefore, may it

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rejoice Me, and thee, and whosoever mounteth into the heaven of knowledge, and whose heart is
refreshed by this, that the wind of certitude hath blown over the garden of his being, from the Sheba of the All-Merciful.
Peace be upon him who followeth the Right Path! . . .1

After those encouraging words, here are some passages on how to search and some more words of encouragement from One Who was intimately acquainted with all mysteries, since His knowledge came directly from God Himself. Bahá'u'lláh writes:

The steed of this Valley is patience; without patience the wayfarer on this journey will reach nowhere and attain no goal. Nor should he ever be downhearted; if he strive for a hundred thousand years and yet fail to behold the beauty of the Friend, he should not falter. . . . In their search, they have stoutly girded up the loins of service, and seek at every moment to journey from the plane of heedlessness to the realm of being. No bond shall hold them back, and no counsel shall deter them.
It is incumbent on these servants that they cleanse the heart--which is the wellspring of divine treasures--from every marking, and that they turn away from imitation, which is following the traces of their forefathers and sires, and shut the door of friendliness and enmity upon all the people of the earth.
In this journey the seeker reacheth a stage wherein he seeth all created things wandering distracted in search of the Friend. How many a Jacob will he see, hunting after his Joseph; he will behold many a lover, hasting to seek the Beloved, he will witness a world of desiring ones searching after the One Desired. At every moment he findeth a weighty matter, in every hour he becometh aware of a mystery; for he hath taken his heart away from both worlds, and set out for the Ka'bih of the Beloved. At every step, aid from the Invisible Realm will attend him and the heat of his search will grow . . . .
. . . he true seeker hunteth naught but the object of his quest, and the lover hath no desire save union with his beloved. Nor shall the seeker reach his goal unless he sacrifice all things. That is, whatever he hath seen, and heard, and understood, all must he set at naught, that he may enter the realm of the spirit, which is the City of God. Labor is needed, if we are to seek Him; ardor is needed, if we are to drink of the honey of reunion with Him; and if we taste of this cup, we shall cast away the world.
On this journey the traveler abideth in every land and dwelleth in every region. In every face, he seeketh the beauty of the Friend; in every country he looketh for the Beloved. He joineth every company, and seeketh fellowship with every soul, that haply in some mind he may uncover the secret of the Friend, or in some face he may behold the beauty of the Loved One. . . .2

Indeed, a great effort seems to be called for--including "patience," "labor," "ardor," and detachment to "cleanse the heart" "cast away the world," and to " sacrifice all things." It certainly is not easy but the reward is great: to " drink of the honey of reunion with Him." The following is more direction on how to conduct ourselves on this search.

That seeker should, also, regard backbiting as grievous error, and keep himself aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul. He should be content with little, and be freed from all inordinate desire. He should treasure the companionship of them that have renounced the world, and regard avoidance of boastful and worldly people a precious benefit. At the dawn of every day he should commune with God, and, with all his soul,
persevere in the quest of his Beloved. He should consume every wayward thought with the flame of His loving mention, and, with the swiftness of lightning, pass by all else save Him. He should succor the dispossessed, and never withhold his favor from the destitute. He should show kindness to animals, how
much more unto his fellow-man, to him who is endowed with the power of utterance. He should not hesitate to offer up his life for his Beloved, nor allow the censure of the people to turn him away from the

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Truth. He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfil. With all his heart he should avoid fellowship with evil-doers, and pray for the
remission of their sins. He should forgive the sinful, and never despise his low estate, for none knoweth
what his own end shall be. How often hath a sinner attained, at the hour of death, to the essence of faith, and, quaffing the immortal draught, hath taken his flight unto the Concourse on High! And how often
hath a devout believer, at the hour of his ascension, been so changed as to fall into the nethermost fire! 3

      As you can see from the preceding passage, a high standard of conduct indeed is called for from the seeker. To conclude are two quotations by 'Abdu'l-Bahá with some more words of advice for the seeker including the "state" in which the seeker must be and the qualities the qualities he/she must possess to be successful, of which an open mind and heart are of extreme importance. We must search everywhere and be prepared to accept Truth from whatever Source in which it is reflected. Don't limit yourself or you may find it has slipped between your fingers and you'll have to start all over again.

      The state in which one should be to seriously search for the truth is the condition of the thirsty soul desiring the water of life, of the fish struggling to reach the sea, of the sufferer seeking for the true doctor to obtain the divine cure, of the lost caravan endeavouring to find the right road, of the lost and wandering ship striving to reach the shore of salvation.
Also, the seeker must be endowed with certain qualities. First of all, he must be just and severed from all else save God; his heart must be entirely turned to the supreme horizon; he must be free from the bondage of self and passion; for all these are obstacles. Furthermore, he must be able to endure all hardships; he must be absolutely pure and sanctified, and free from the love or the hatred of the inhabitants of the world. Why? because the fact of his love for any person or thing might prevent him from rcognising the truth in another, and in the same way, hatred for anything might be a hindrance in discerning truth. This is the condition of seeking; and the seeker must have these qualities and attributes. Until he reaches this condition, it is not possible for him to attain to the Sun of Reality.4


. . .Therefore man must be the seeker after the Reality; and he will find that Reality in each of the Sanctified Souls. He must be fascinated and enraptured, and attracted to the divine bounty; he must be like the butterfly who is the lover of the light from whatever lamp it may shine, and like the nightingale who is the lover of the rose in whatever garden it may grow.5

1 Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, pp. 3-4.
2 Bahá'u'lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, pp. 5-7.
3 Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,pp 265-266.
4 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 45-46
5 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 87-88
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